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Mark Cuban Offers to Hire Lawyers to Prosecute Him

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on October 26, 2010 2:28 PM

He's only trying to help. That is the way that lawyers for billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban are spinning an usual request to the judge in Cuban's insider trading case.

Due to a huge number of documents in the case, it is taking the Securities and Exchange Commission attorneys a long time to review the relevant documents and produce the ones Cuban's attorneys want to review. So Cuban has offered to dig into his own deep pockets and hire some contract attorneys to help the government out.

Unsurprisingly, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton, who is hearing the case, has some doubts about the move, reports Bloomberg. Even less surprisingly, the SEC has some objections. Judge Walton has asked the SEC to consider whether hiring outside contractors would violate federal hiring regulations or cause problems with the review of classified documents. The SEC says the extra "help" would only allow a wealthy defendant to line jump others due to the extra resources he can afford to toss at his case.

Cuban is charged with trading on confidential information when he sold his stake in Mamma.com Inc., a Canadian internet company, just before it announced a private placement of shares, Bloomberg reports.

The reason Cuban is so eager to assist the SEC in its document review is that Judge Walton ruled last month the Commission improperly withheld documents Cuban requested under the Freedom of Information Act. Bloomberg reports that under the current discovery schedule, the documents are slated to be produced sometime around March of 2012.

In their own defense, SEC attorneys noted they are working as fast as possible. Due to the sheer volume of documents in the case (like most all securities litigation), an attorney assigned to review the files would have to work for more than eight months, at a top speed of four pages a minute, during eight-hour days, without breaks. Even for lawyers, that is a bit inhuman.

Judge Walton told the parties it was unlikely Congress would provide further funds to speed up this case. "Contrary to popular belief, the federal government is going broke," Judge Walton said.

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